A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 17-year-old boy, who became the first juvenile charged with breaking the covid-19 movement restrictions.
The teen was allegedly “travelling nationwide” and putting the public at risk.
He was charged in May with three counts of breaching the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act, 2020.
The emergency law, which can carry a six-month sentence, was introduced as a measure aimed at preventing the spread of the pandemic.Members of his family have been infected with the coronavirus, the Dublin Children’s Court was told.
The breaches are alleged to have occurred in Clondalkin and Blanchardstown in Dublin, on April 28th and three days earlier, and in Co Limerick on April 27th.
After getting bail on May 8th he repeatedly broke bail terms.
The bail was revoked on May 21st at the Dublin Children’s Court. However, the teenager subsequently made a successful application in the High Court and was released again.
He was due to appear again at the juvenile court but was not present and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
He has not yet entered a plea to the Covid-19 related charges. His solicitor has also indicated a challenge to the constitutionality of the new legislation is under consideration.
At a previous hearing, the juvenile court had heard the teen had 18 bench warrant for failing to turn up to court for other cases, from February 2017 until March this year.
The court heard the teenager’s family has been affected by the pandemic but the boy was driving around the country “posing a danger for everyone he is in contact with”.
“He is travelling nationwide in MPVs (mechanically propelled vehicles), causing risk to the public not only by travelling but by spreading covid,” a garda told the court.
He also 26 other charges of theft, cannabis possession and dangerous driving, endangerment
and other motoring offences such has having no licence or insurance. These offences are
alleged to have happened between March 12th and April 27th this year.
His other charges are at various stages.
He is awaiting sentence on some matters and still facing trial on others.